xG Matchup Rankings GW 4 2018

xG Match Up Rankings

With unlimited transfers, match ups are more important than ever. So how do you evaluate match ups? Especially if you’re only an aspiring Armchair Analyst and not yet the real thing. The answer? The expected goal (xG) rankings!

What are expected goals (xG)

The idea behind xG is simple. Every shot has probability of scoring based on the position on the field and the game situation, based on giant databases of shots from years and years of data. Then at the end of the game all the xGs from the individual shots are added up to generate the team’s xG for that game. This metric is a useful measure of the teams overall attacking or defending play, more so than just looking at how many goals a team has scored or allowed. If you’d like to learn more, there’s a nice video by MLS to explain further:

http://www.mlssoccer.com/post/2017/04/24/what-are-expected-goals-learn-what-you-need-know-about-statistic

How to use these rankings

The rankings below use the xG metric to rank the match ups each week to help you determine which teams you should try to choose your attackers or defenders from. Each teams score is an average of their xG/g and their opponent’s xG/g separated out into offense/defense and home/away match ups. For example, if Atlanta plays NYCFC at home. Atlanta has an average home xG/g is 1.62 and NYCFC’s has an average away xG/g allowed is 0.96 for an offensive xG score of 1.29 xG. The reverse can be done to calculate their defensive score for this week. The game by game xG numbers are taken American Soccer Analysis.

https://www.americansocceranalysis.com/by-game-2018/

Review of Week 3:

What we got right:

  1. Teams in the top 5 of the offense rankings scored 1.8 goals vs the league average of 1.28.
  2. Teams in the top 5 of the defense rankings gave up only 0.6 goals vs the league average of 1.8.
  3. Teams in the top 5 of the defense rankings gave up 0.966 xG vs the league average of 1.25 xG against.
  4. Teams in the top 5 earned 3 clean sheets!

What we got wrong:

  1. Teams in the top 5 of the offense rankings scored only 1.16 xG vs an average of 1.25 xG.
  2. Salt Lake, New York City, and Philadelphia were in the top 5 on offense, but all scored under 1 xG.

Week 4 Offense xG Match Up Rankings

*This is the 1st week based on 2018 data, which means small sample sizes so there’s the potential for “weird” results as the 2018 data stabilizes. Where the 2018 data was unavailable, I’ve patched it with the 2017 data.

Week 4 Defense xG Match Up Rankings

*This is the 1st week based on 2018 data, which means small sample sizes so there’s the potential for “weird” results as the 2018 data stabilizes. Where the 2018 data was unavailable, I’ve patched it with the 2017 data.

Authors Corner

  1. Be smarter than the author. Last week I got lured into the away team trap and it bit me (well that and Captaining Villa and not seeing he wasn’t playing in time…thanks MLS app.) Home teams are scoring 0.57 goals and 0.55 more xG per game this season. That means fantasy points. Don’t be like me. Pick home teams.
  2. I’m high on FC Dallas, NYRB, Vancouver and Columbus this week
  3. Colorado is ranked high on offense because Kansas City’s one road game was awful. Kansas City’s defense is not as good as years past…but Colorado struggled against a New England team who literally don’t believe in center backs and had a goalkeeper who you didn’t know existed until week 2. Don’t pick Colorado unless you enjoy dropping ranks and dollars.
  4. The L.A. Galaxy are very, very injured. Or away with their national teams. Upgrade Vancouver!
  5. Be sure to check the international call-ups this weekend!
  6. I’ll be backpacking this weekend…so pray for me that there’s no because MLS shenanigans!

About Kyle Mcelhinny

Scientist by day, soccer fan by night. Nerd always. Using stats to overcome my lack of knowledge about the beautiful game.

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